by Jeanne Huber Morr, Ron’s Express Carwash & Oil Change
While many will Google to find out what the “slip is showing” comment implies; many still remember to conceal their slip. Slip can also be considered a mess up of customer service. NLA for our purpose does not stand for National Lingerie Alliance but for the two-mile stones of poor customer service. We are fortunate to know so many fantastic owners that have true customer service. Regretfully many in the industry are drained and have lost some finesse. NLA for our purpose stands for Never Listen and Assume. Keep these words forefront when you deal with customers and you will have rave reviews.
Quite some time ago in Detroit at a large upscale department store a woman was browsing for a purse. Prior to approaching, the attendant noticed the woman’s unremarkable appearance. The customer was nicely dressed, but nothing about her screamed, “I have money”. The attendant actually felt sorry for the woman as she was viewing quite expensive purses. Upon approaching, no questions were asked to gather information nor did the attendant try to know the lady or her needs further. She quite politely took her to the more reasonably priced purses and tried to help. The customer smiled, thanked the attendant for her help and left. About 10 minutes later the Vice President of the department store approached the attendant, thanked her for her service and asked her to leave. Her final paycheck would be mailed to her. Just as the attendant was wondering what she could have possibly done wrong, the Vice President turned around and informed her that the customer that was just in her area was Mrs. Ford (Detroit, Ford Motor Company!)
With every encounter in life, listen intently and don’t stop listening or asking questions until the other person is done talking. Absolutely never judge a person by your first impression or assume you have them figured out. You will find your life richly filled with fascinating people if you follow this advice.
We had an incident where a customer went through our wash and left with a broken windshield. The customer’s jeep had a large aftermarket light bar across the top of his jeep’s windshield, which he had installed. The wash manager pointed out the sign saying we are not responsible for damage due to aftermarket items, but also informed him we would contact him shortly. Wow, never have we had a broken windshield! Upon meeting with the customer, who looked very familiar and he thought I looked familiar as well; I stressed a couple of points. One, the conversation would end with both of us very happy. Secondly, we truly value every customer and desire to take care of his or her needs for life. Third, the conversation would end with both of us happy!!! We went to a comfortable area of our site; the customer walked me through the chain of events. I repeated his information back to him. While viewing the vehicle several things were very apparent.
1. The light bar was an aftermarket piece
2. The customer installed the light bar
3. The bar design should have had a pressure point on a solid piece such as the body of the jeep. Instead it was against the center of the windshield—glass.
4. The bar was metal, and it was winter. The metal was cold without more than 1/16” inch separating it from the glass
5. Ice had formed ensuring no separation between the bar and the glass
6. The jeep was toasty warm on the inside of the glass and the light bar was literally ice cold, bad combination!
7. First top brush, ok. Second one, not so well.
None of the above points ensure a win, win for both parties involved. Upon reviewing all these points with the customer, two requests were made. One call the company, we would or he could, and see if similar issues had occurred. Secondly, find out what the insurance deductible is. Since the piece causing the damage was after market and we always work with and value our customers, the offer was $150 in free carwashes if the insurance deductible was $100. The customer was very happy.
Listening to the customer is paramount. Always offer a solution that is greater than the customer’s expectation. When listening to the customer, try to find out what they think a great solution would be. In this case, the encounter opened the possibility of this incident being talked about in corporate boardrooms. As the customer was leaving, I again hit on the point that he looked familiar. When I asked him where he worked, his response was a very well-known large fast food restaurant, with corporate offices in our city. Shocked, I said, “You were on Undercover Boss, weren’t you?” He was! Always listen and treat everyone well, you never know who you may be entertaining!